No $400m Polio Fund Stolen, Minister Tells Reps 

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  • Legislature wants implementation of National Health Act 

By Damilola Oyedele and Paul Obi in Abuja

The federal government on Tuesday informed the House of Representatives that contrary to speculations, $400 million of the Polio Eradication Fund was not stolen by officials.

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, told the House Committee on Health Services at a public hearing on ‘Health Care Financing; Primary Health Care  (PHC) Revitalization in Nigeria’ that insinuations about missing $400 million earmarked for polio eradication were designed to tarnish the image of the country globally.

Adewole said: “$400 million polio money was not stolen, and we need to protect our image. When we splash this kind of stories on pages of newspapers, donors withhold funds as they say the monies would be stolen.”

“We became a laughing stock globally when the 2016 health budget was reduced by 33 percent. The impression is that we are not a serious nation….each time we talk about PHC, we talk about a pyramid: PHC as the foundation, secondary institutions as the building and tertiary institutions as the roof. Without the foundation, the pyramid will not stand,” he said.

Adewole however conceded that the funds may not have been managed properly.

The minister added that the aim of government is to ensure that there is a PHC centre in each of the 9,244 wards in the country.